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Scientist Builds Female Android

A Toronto-based researcher has built a lifelike android named Aiko that is capable of recognizing faces, identifying medication, and even buttering toast.

A Toronto-based researcher has built what he claims is the world's first fully functional female robot -- a lifelike android named Aiko that is capable of recognizing faces, identifying medication, and even buttering toast.

33-year-old researcher Le Trung, a graduate of York University, built Aiko with silicon and computer parts. Programming her internal software took over a year.

To date, Trung has spent $24,000 building his robo-girl.

Aiko sports delicate, Geisha-like features and is armed with sensors that allow her to respond to touch and voice commands. A camera in her neck provides her with visual input. All told, the robot weighs in at about 70 pounds.

With a vocabulary of more than 13,000 words, Aiko can, among other things, tell you what the weather is outside.

Despite her lifelike appearance and 32-23-33, anatomically correct measurements, Trung insists Aiko is not a sex doll. "I'm attached to it, but do I sleep with it? No," said Aiko, in an interview published Thursday in Toronto's Globe & Mail newspaper.

Aiko is now seeking investors so he can conduct further robotics research and make continued improvements to Aiko. "Her fingertips are still made of cardboard, see. I don't have money for titanium," Trung told the Globe.

Though similar, science fiction literature generally distinguishes between robots and androids -- with the former only capable of carrying out preprogrammed commands while the latter is supposedly able to think independently. Trung claims Aiko is able to spell out words he hasn't taught her.

Can a date with Data be far behind?

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